As Shore Opens Up, Risk Increases For Crashes

Street Smart NJ signage provides tips for pedestrians. (Micromedia File Photo)

  JERSEY SHORE – Even though a lot of shore destinations aren’t fully re-opened, police are urging pedestrian safety. Drivers should keep an eye out for people walking and pedestrians should keep an eye out for cars.

  In fact, with COVID-19 closing places to go, there are more people going on walks or riding bikes for exercise or just to get out.

  Police departments on Long Beach Island – including Beach Haven, Harvey Cedars, Long Beach Township, Ship Bottom and Surf City – partnered with Street Smart NJ, managed by the New Jersey Transportation Planning Authority.

  Signs will be on display and safety tip cards are being distributed. You may also see some ads on NJ Transit buses. Everything will tell drivers: slow down, stop for people crossing streets and avoid distractions. Pedestrians will be reminded to use crosswalks and wait for the walk signal or green light before crossing and to avoid distractions when crossing.

  In addition to the education portion, there will be increased police enforcement as well.

  “We’ll be cracking down on speeding and distracted driving. But it’s also important for people to remember to walk facing traffic when there are no sidewalks and bike with the flow of traffic,” said Harvey Cedars Police Chief Robert Burnaford.

  Long Beach Island was one of the original five pilot locations when the NJTPA launched the Street Smart NJ pedestrian safety program in 2013 and 2014.

  Pedestrian safety is a concern nationwide, but it is particularly important in New Jersey, which the federal government has designated a pedestrian safety focus state for its high rate of fatalities and injuries. Pedestrians comprised 30 percent (173 people) of the 564 people killed in crashes in New Jersey in 2018, nearly double the national average of 16 percent, according to the most recent data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). New Jersey ranked 18th in the nation in pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people in 2018. On average, one pedestrian is killed every two days in New Jersey and 12 are injured daily.

  “Raising public awareness is paramount in helping to save lives and prevent injuries on our roads and especially during the summer season when we host thousands of visitors in our shore towns,” said Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety. “With the help of our police departments, we have developed an important partnership that takes the message on travel safety to where it really counts – to drivers and pedestrians who need to look out for each other every day, at every crosswalk, along every road and at every intersection. There is no vacation from safety.” Freeholder Kelly is Second Vice Chair of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) Board of Trustees. The NJTPA developed and manages Street Smart NJ.

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